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Top 100 Golf Courses "BiteSize" - April 2016

Thanks for taking the time to read our April BiteSize update, which this month focuses largely on the West Region of the USA, where we’ve completed our biennial appraisal of thirteen States in the Pacific and Mountain Divisions of the country. We continue to extend our US Best In State rankings where we believe it’s warranted and in this update we present the first Top 100 ranking list for California. We’ve actually expanded the number of courses we display for eleven featured States – only Alaska and Wyoming retain a Top 5 and a Top 10 respectively.

Also in this month’s edition we’ve published a short article by our Editor who visited the north and west of Ireland and found a gem that is generally overlooked by golfers travelling to the region.

If you haven’t visited the Top 100 website recently, you won’t have noticed that we’ve designed, built and launched a brand new site. It still has the same look and feel, but the new website is now mobile friendly and slightly easier on the eye. This new platform will allow us to make changes and updates more quickly and more easily, so expect some exciting functional changes in the not too distant future.

2016 Alaska Best in State rankings

The Last Frontier State is the only one in the United States where we list fewer than ten courses. Our number 1 is still Bill Newcomb’s thirty-year-old Anchorage course, located just outside the state’s most populous city. With the Robert Trent Jones Jnr course at Eagleglen closing two years ago and dropping out of our state rankings, we have a new entry at number 4, Settlers Bay, to take its place in our new Top 5 chart.

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2016 Arizona Best in State rankings

Three courses make significant upward moves within the Top 10 portion of the state chart: Desert Highlands, an early 1980s Jack Nicklaus track (up three to number 3), Whisper Rock (Lower), where Phil Mickelson teamed up with Dallas-based architect Gary Stephenson to turn a boulder-strewn area in the Sonoran Desert into a very special golf venue (up three to number 8) and Pine Canyon, a Jay Morrish solo design from 2004, which is the centrepiece of a residential community in Flagstaff (up eight to number 9).

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2016 California Best in State rankings

One of only two courses to make upward moves within the Top 10, California Golf Club of San Francisco rises two places to number 8. Originally laid out in the 1920s, Kyle Phillips extensively renovated “the Cal Club” in 2007/8 and the results of that upgrade are now reflected in the latest rankings. Mention must also be made to two other courses which the same architect has revived with extensive makeovers in recent years: Menlo (at number 48) and Wilshire (at number 50), which are two of the highest new entries in our latest Top 100 for the Golden State.

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2016 Colorado Best in State rankings

Rising one place to the runner-up position in our revised Colorado chart, Cherry Hills is a 1922 William Flynn layout that Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design company extensively renovated in 2009. Site of numerous national amateur and professional championships down the years, the course also climbed eight spots to number 87 in our US Top 100 chart when it was revised four months ago.

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2016 Hawaii Best in State rankings

There are now 30 courses in our standings for the Aloha State and another David McLay Kidd design, Nanea, retains the number 1 slot. Paul Rudovsky played this ultra-exclusive track on the Big Island last March. Paul (aka Rudo) is closing in on playing every course that has ever appeared on a World Top 100 ranking list: “This is a very very private club. It is simply exquisite, and fun to play, but it also very much values its privacy, and I shall respect that…”

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2016 Idaho Best in State rankings

The highest of five new entries in our expanded Top 15 chart is Rock Creek at number 6, a recent Tom Weiskopf design located on the cliff tops overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene. It was originally meant to be an additional 18-hole layout for the adjacent Black Rock development (which is number 2 in the Idaho chart) but the same gentleman who owns the Rock Creek Cattle Company in Montana acquired the property and he’s decided to give his Idaho course a very similar name.

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2016 Montana Best in State rankings

Closing in just behind the nationally ranked Rock Creek Cattle Company, two courses climb two places in the chart. The first of these is Wilderness Club at number 2, a Nick Faldo layout from 2009 which is appropriately named due to its remote location outside of Eureka, near the Canadian border. The other course, at number 3, is Stock Farm Club, a late-1990s Tom Fazio design that’s laid out in Bitterroot Valley, near Hamilton.

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2016 Nevada Best in State rankings

Four hundred and fifty miles northwest of Las Vegas, a couple of 18-hole layouts near Lake Tahoe take small steps in the right direction in our new state listings, with both rising two positions. At number 2, Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw’s 2009 production at Clear Creek, just outside Carson City, is a much-admired, rugged mountain track and at number 8, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Montreaux Golf & Country Club is an annual PGA Tour stop, hosting the Barracuda Championship (formerly the Reno-Tahoe Open).

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2016 New Mexico Best in State rankings

Rising one place to number 2 in our New Mexico chart, the Sunset course at Las Campanas is the newer and slightly shorter of two Jack Nicklaus courses that are laid out within an exclusive country club located just outside Santa Fe. The Golden Bear marked the opening of the course with a match against Ben Crenshaw in “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” television series soon after it debuted in 2000.

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2016 Oregon Best in State rankings

We’ve expanded our chart for the Beaver State by 50% to create a Top 30 and the top four positions are all occupied by courses from the iconic Bandon Dunes Resort. Tom Doak’s Pacific Dunes layout holds onto the number 1 position and the architect’s second design at this venue, Old Macdonald, climbs one place to the runner-up spot at number 2. All four 18-hole layouts at this popular golf destination are firmly ensconced in our US Top 100 table.

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2016 Utah Best in State rankings

The Championship course at Sand Hollow, a John Fough design located near Hurricane, makes an impressive leap from number 8 to 2, just coming up short of Tom Fazio’s Glenwild design in Park City, but it’s one to watch out for next time around. We’ll be taking a long hard look at Sand Hollow in the not too distant future.

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2016 Washington Best in State rankings

We’ve added another five courses to our Washington listings, where Chambers Bay remains the Evergreen State’s number 1 track, despite tumbling down the US national chart that we published four months ago. New at number 2, we have David McLay Kidd’s Gamble Sands, which first opened for play in 2014. Set out on top of a sandy mesa within a huge 1,000-acre property, the course lies – in the words of its architect – in a ”once in a lifetime site…”

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2016 Wyoming Best in State rankings

The Equality State retains a Top 10 ranking chart which is headed by Tom Fazio’s Shooting Star, a Jackson Hole layout that has water in play at more than half the holes. Two other courses move up the listings: Snake River in Jackson Hole (up three to number 2) which is a Tom Weiskopf design from 2006, and Rochelle Ranch in Rawlins (up one to number 9), where Ken Kavanaugh set out the course in 2004.

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The North and West Coast Links of Ireland

The seventh edition of the North & West Coast Links Challenge took place last week in the north west of Ireland, with journalists from the European Golf and Travel Media Association participating in what is now an almost permanent annual fixture in their busy golfing calendar. Our intrepid Editor was in the team and he experienced the delights of Connemara for the first time. He was impressed – very impressed.

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Have you downloaded our Scottish publication yet?

Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland 2016-2017 was recently published in Kindle format, which can be enjoyed on any device with Kindle’s free App. This latest title in the Top 100 series is jam-packed full of previously unreleased material and it includes an insight from our Editor and Scottish Correspondent, Jim McCann, who has played every layout in the Scottish hundred.

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Recent Player Reviews

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